# What SI unit describes the mass of an atom or molecule?

Dec 1, 2016

Kilograms or grams.

#### Explanation:

The official SI unit of mass is the kilogram. Due to the small amounts involved at a molecular level we may use grams (0.001 kg) for things like molecular weights.

Actual masses of individual atoms or molecules will be very small, requiring scientific notation to avoid writing a lot of leading zeros. Thus it doesn't really matter whether you use grams or kilograms, as the required exponent will just be a number that is 3 more (and negative) for kilograms compared to grams.

The "dalton" may also be used, but strictly speaking it is not an SI unit.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unified_atomic_mass_unit